Friday, February 15, 2013

Swimming the day away at Great Wolf Lodge

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Not like we didn't do plenty already for Joel's birthday, Steve and I decided it would be fun to take the kids to Great Wolf Lodge for a night this week to finish off the celebration.  What a GREAT decision!!  We all had such a wonderful time. 
We started our drive in late morning.  From our house in Westlake it's only a little over an hour drive to Sandusky.  After we turned the sports radio talk show to Country music it was smooth sailing. When we got to our destination we decided to stop for lunch before we checked in.  Luckily McDonald's is everywhere.  It was Ash Wednesday so the good Catholics that we are had fish.  Surprisingly the Fish Nugget Happy Meals were a success.  Jude even found the "Luck of the Irish!"
So then it was time to check in.  It was a little earlier than the allotted time so we were not sure if the room would be ready.  But this is the beauty of having little kids and traveling during the week.  It almost felt like we had the place to ourselves.  They even upgraded us to a family suite with a fireplace.  The kids loved that.  I must admit it was nice to come back to a toasty room after getting out of the pool. 

Steve had a little help getting the suitcases to the room.  Then bathing suits on and off the the pool. (Water park passes are included  for each registered guest.)  Thankfully there are no pictures of mommy in her bathing suit!!!!!!!!

They have everything you could ever imagine.  Ton's of fun for the whole family.  The kids had to first get their life jackets on... then we started off just getting our feet wet in Soak'n Oak Springs which is the toddler area with little slides, water spouts and dumping buckets.  

Next we moved to Fort Mackenzie where the kids loved climbing up the rope cargo nets.  Mom and dad got into the action as well using the water guns and spouts to spray anxious people below. Jude and I took a ride on the Otter Run Slides. Can you say mega fast. I was surprised Jude did great.  He picks purple over the yellow slide.  It's FASTER!!

Picture from Great Wolf Lodge website
Jude then found his favorite spot, Whooping Hollow.  There are three small but fast slides here with a little pool underneath.   Perfect for preschoolers.  Like Jude says "I can do it myself!"  Joel wasn't so much into the slides.  He's still small though.  He wanted to sit and watch as he calls Jude "his best brother ever!"  It melts my heart every time.

That day we also check out Caribou Creek aka the lazy river ride.  Daddy checked out Alberta Fall which is a great inter tube slide.  Then as we say in our family "can I get a hot tub?!?"  (Yes this is how my 4 and 3 year old say it as well.  The power of television.)  So Manitoba Tubs is Great Wolf Lodge's version of a hot tub.  Amazing it is even relaxing with children.  But if you are lucky enough to have a moment or two break from your children there is an adults only section.  I can only imagine how much more relaxing that could be.

Steve and Jude took a quick dip in Chinook Cove... a nice size pool with basket ball hoops to play games or serpents and turtles to crawl on.  It looked fun but by that time my Joel had enough.  We dried off and got ourselves a drink at the Klondike Cafe.

We then decided that we had plenty of water fun for one day.  So we headed back to the room, changed and then we were off for more fun.  Yes there is much more than the water park at Great Wolf Lodge.

First we checked out the Cub Club.  This is an area for kids that has books, small toys and games.  They have crafts some free, like coloring sheets, some you must pay for like sand art and T-shirt decorating.  They have friendly staff to help if needed.

We skipped the Northern Lights Arcade this stay.  We had just been to Dave and Busters a few days prior so we had enough of video games but the area looked fun.  We also are a family of boys so the Scooops Kids Spa didn't make our list but I am sure that little girls would "eat up" the flavored manis and pedis.

What we did check out was Magiquest the game!  What is Magiquest?  You stop at the wand shop pick out and purchase a wand and a game and your off.  (Our kids share a one wand and a game.)  The wands start at about $15 and a game is around $9.  The wand is yours to keep and the game last your entire stay.  (The wand is preset for 4 days but if you are there longer you just need to stop back at the wand shop and they will increase your time.)  Your wand saves everything so next time you return you just need to purchase a game and all your previous "quests" and "adventures" are stored in the wand so you start where you left off.  Kind of cool!

There is an introductory video that explains the game and you receive a helpful guide book (HOLD ON TO THIS).  You then explore the hotel on "quests" and "adventures" finding and opening treasures bringing paintings and items to life and gaining "runes".  

 I know what your thinking.  It sounds kind of cheesy.  It can be a little frustrating at times and make sure you're ready to go up and down the stairs and or elevator about a million times but its worth it!  The kids had a blast graduating from junior to senior Magi.

So the rest of the night was kind of a blur.  After Magiquest we had a nice dinner at Gitchigoomie Grill.  Note if you purchase an Our Town coupon book as we do every year there is a buy one get one coupon for this restaurant. Then the kids got into their PJ's and we headed to the lobby for "The Great Clock Tower Show" and story time.  While we waited for the show to begin we had a little snack of chocolate covered strawberry fudge from the Bear Paws Sweets ad Eats stand.  Yummy!  After the show the kids got to meet and get their picture with Violet. It was true love!

Then back to the room for bedtime routine.  I packed the DVD player so the kids watched Peter Pan and then lights out.  We were all exhausted!

In the morning it was a little breakfast. Then packing up and loading it into the car.  The fun wasn't over though.  Even though you check out your water park passes are good until the park closes the night of your departure date.   So we splashed and played a little more.  Joel found that he loved the giant bucked that dumps 1000 gallons about every five minutes...who knew??  Then we toweled off and changed.  We had time for two more Magiquest "quests" and then off to lunch and home.  

What a wonderful time.  Anyone thinking about visiting Great Wolf Lodge should go.  The staff are friendly, the facilities amazingly clean and the atmosphere full of fun, energy and adventure.


  1. This sounds like a great time! I hadn't heard of the wand game before. The pictures are wonderful. Hopefully we'll be able to make it out there in a couple weeks once I get around some more. Nice tip about going in the middle of the week. Family suite with a fireplace -- awesome!


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